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jb8103

Amana ALW480DAW - Squeak 'n leak

13 posts in this topic

Customer says machine makes a noise at the end of the wash cycle and also she saw a puddle of water on the basement floor next to it.

 

I was unable to replicate the noise after running two cycles. There was no detectable leak, although the outline of the puddle was still clearly visible.

 

This machine is in like-new condition. I didn't see anything like corroded clamps or cracking hoses, everything looked brand new and spic and span.

 

Could it be we only make noise when the basket is loaded? And what could have caused that puddle?

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The squeak and leak could both be something that won't show up without a load and both could be caused by bad/worn out brake pads.

 

Did you check to make sure the brakes are able to hold the transmission from moving while it is in agitate?  If not, with clothes in the washer the friction against the spin basket will turn the basket back and forth with the agitator and clothes which would cause a squeak as the brakes slip or actually let the transmission start to spin while it is agitating causing the water to whirlpool  up out the top if the brakes are totally worn out.

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I agree, check the brakes. Its been a common problem with your washer. I don't know if Amana had different brake pard or what but I've seen some that wear out very quick, some that fall apart, and others they are still in great condition with years of use.

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Bad brakes finally occurred to me but not the whirlpool effect. This is very likely because I see and feel some splashing during spin. I need to find a service manual for this, anybody got one handy?

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If the brakes are bad enough that its allowing the inner tub to spin while its agitating then it will leak water on the floor. Bad brakes won't cause it to leak in the spin cycle though.  However, it seems like everyone says the washer leaks in spin when its actually been leaking right from the start of the cycle, they just don't notice it untill the spin.  Keep that in mind when looking for a leak. Sometimes it takes to the end of the cycle for that water to escape the inside of the machine and show up on the floor. Sometimes it needs the vibration of the spin cycle for the water to work its way out from under the machine.

Another thing to check is the belt. It needs to slip enough while water is still in the tub during spin that it doesn't spin the water right over the top.  I've had failed belts with a crack in the rubber every inch around cause the tub to get up to speed too quickly and spin water over.

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This machine in spin is so smooth I could put a full glass of the Samurai's favorite brew on it and not lose a drop. At the end of spin cycle the brakes pull it down in just a few seconds and it comes to rest with a slight hissing sound. This is with no load in it. I didn't think to feel up there for hot brakes though. I believe the belts are in A1 condition.

 

Customer only noticed a leak once but it was bad enough to leave a puddle. So I'm going to tell her it's the brakes and get them out of there. I think on this model I can unbolt the pads and replace them without pulling the pulley and brake drum? Or will I need to buy that special wrench?

 

Remember I'm mostly just a humble HVAC guy.

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If the tub stops in a few seconds and its not spinning while its agitating I would leave the brakes alone.  If you do replace them, you don't have to remove anything to get them off. Use a 3/8" wrench or a ratchet to get the bolts out and spin the transmission pulley a half turn to release the brake pads. The back brake pad is a pain to get to. I always disconnect the drain hose from the pump, disconnect the fill hose from the tub cover and disconnect the pressure tube and then remove all the tub springs and spin the whole tub assembly around backwards to get to the back brake pad. 

 

If it just leaked once and you can't see where its comming from you may have to keep runing the machine untill it shows up. Take a look at the drain pump too because those can leak once then stop for several loads then start leaking again.

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If the brakes are bad enough that its allowing the inner tub to spin while its agitating then it will leak water on the floor.

 

So this must mean that the transmission itself dos not effectively isolate the two functions (agitate, spin) and needs the brake to help?

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Yes, the brake has to hold the wash basket stationary during agitation to prevent water from sloshing out the top of the wash basket and on the floor.

 

The old school Frigidaire top load washers used a one way bearing or LGS spring and only allowed the inner wash basket to index in one direction during agitation  and thus because it only indexed in one direction it did not slpash the water out of the top of the wash basket. This was the only top load washer in it's time to get away without having a brake to hold the tub stationary during agitation because the lid locked during the spin cycle.

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So this must mean that the transmission itself dos not effectively isolate the two functions (agitate, spin) and needs the brake to help?

On this machine the transmission only agitates. When the washer is spinning the transmission is doing basicaly nothing.

Take a look at the machine next time you're out there. Spin the transmission pulley counterclockwise (looking down on it) and it will agitate. Spin it the other way and the pulley will ride up on the cam releasing the brake and then the whole transmission and tub will spin as a unit. The transmission input shaft will not rotate clockwise. It just locks. So thats how the belt can spin everything together as a unit. 

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Turns out, I miscommunicated with my customer. After checking the brake pads, which were like new, I put in a load of laundry and tried again to replicate the squeak noise. No such noise - the brakes worked perfectly, but the spin speed seemed excessively fast. So fast it was out of my comfort zone.

 

That's when the customer came downstairs and said "There - that's the noise I was talking about. That tornado sound."

 

The basket was spinning so fast it did have the sound of an approaching windstorm. I tried it again on Delicate and it slowed right down to approximate normal. All other settings, it would spin like balls afire.

 

I don't know what would cause that. This is a 2-speed motor but without a speed control selector. I can test the speed switch in the console and ohm out the motor, that's all I know to do right offhand.

 

Anybody seen this?

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Yes.  If you're running the basket empty, it will make this noise during spin.  It's the particular sound the air makes as it's travels across the holes in the basket.  These washers are famous for this noise and it has head-faked many a fine Appliantologist.  Customers usually don't hear it because when they run it, the basket is full of clothes, which blocks the noise.  

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Domo, Samurai-san! The facts will be communicated - correctly, this time.

 

P.S. Oh, btw - the leak was from loose hose clamps. So at least I got something fixed.

Edited by jb8103

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